How I Sometimes Feel When I Travel To Other Cultures

This is basically how I feel when I travel to other cultures sometimes.  Relevant part is at about 1:24, though I assume you recognize this!  Language warning for the audio.

What I mean is, I sometimes feel like I go in with unreasonable expectations given the culture and have to readjust.  But I wish I would readjust more quickly.

I traveled to Prague as part of an internship.  Two of the other girls I was with were very upset that their beds did not have top sheets.

No top sheet is perfectly acceptable in Europe, but the two girls went crazy demanding a top sheet from the poor bed and breakfast hosts.

They were really confused.  The hosts I mean.

They eventually found curtains and turned them into a quasi-top sheet for the bed.  The girls complained about their top sheets being curtains for the rest of the trip.

But it’s easy to look at other people and judge.  And I’m sure I’m more guilty of this than I realize.

When I was living in Russia, I was shocked by the bathroom situation.   (As were a lot of people during the Olympics, which again, is easy for me to look at and call out).

I’m typically a dresses/skirt person, but I decided to wear yoga pants on my flight.  And then my bag was lost.  And my teenager brain didn’t think to pack extra clothes in my carry-on…. just in case.  So I spent a few days in the same pants.

So, with pants on, I walked into the bathroom to find a trough style toilet.  And I had no idea how to use it, especially with pants on, vs. a bottomless skirt.

I walked outside and asked one of the girls there how to use the bathroom.  I got a blank stare in return for a while, then decided she must not be understanding my English.  So she grabbed another person.

Who ended up grabbing another person.

Until we had a crowd of people who could not understand why this person from American did not know how to go to the toilet.

I’m still not sure I used the toilets correctly, but I at least found a way.  I would go into detail except I’m not sure I’m ready to explain my peeing process to the world quite yet.  I’m not that open on this blog.

My roommate and I did create the types of toilets we’re used to in the apartment out of a toilet seat and duct tape.

How about you?  Do you ever feel like you are Leeroy Jenkins-ing it up when you travel to other cultures?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Alright chums, I’m back. Let’s do this… LEERROOOOOOOOYYY JEENNNNNNKINNNNSSSSS!!!

  2. I know exactly what kind of toilet you are talking about! I actually do know how to use this (uh, go me?) since I spent every summer as a kid in Taiwan and these style of toilets are hugely popular across Asia (to be honest, if you know how to use them properly, they are far more hygienic). I do admit that when I was a kid visiting mainland China back in 1991, I was not crazy about the public bathroom situation but I think that had more to do with the fact that the stalls did not always have doors…

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